Mast & Rigging

We offer manufacturers and suppliers around the UK for rigging products to suit all budgets and mast suppliers that work in various designs and materials. The best quality for your boat mast and sailing rigging products is of the utmost importance for your safety and craft performance. Though made from highly durable materials, these are also amongst the two most stressed parts of the boat, subject to constant pressure and usage that raises gradual wear & tear and chances of permanent damage. We cover the basic uses and types of Sailing Mast and Rigging products along with helping you to find the best supplier for these products to suit your particular needs.

Basics of the Sailing Mast

A mast refers to vertical spars that are found in most sailing vessels. A carefully arranged series of spars that supports the sails constitutes the Sailing Mast. A robust mast ensures an overall smoother sailing experience being an essential part of the navigational set-up. Contemporary ship masts also aid managing the signal flags and signal lamps apart from being a part of the radio aerial arrangement. Larger boats masts are also important for lookout purposes as the crows nest is located at the top of the main mast. While configuration of a sailing mast varies according to size and dynamics of different sailing vessels, nearly every mast is essentially a Guyed Mast, i.e. it is supported by the faintly visible Guy Lines. The mast draws strength from industrial-strength, high tension cables that keep the mast upright. Modern ships prefer masts crafted from aluminum due to its lightweight but strong and weather-resistant properties.

Mast components you should know about :

  • Tabernacle – the bracket at the foot of a mast attaching it to the deck
  • Vangs – ropes leading from gaff to deck sides
  • Gooseneck – connects mast to boom allowing boom to swivel
  • Fastenings
  • Mast supports
  • Headstay – line between mast head and bow
  • Hounds – that secure shrouds and stays to the mast

Quick Mast Terminology – Types of Mast :

  • Main mast - the tallest mast
  • Fore mast - mast that comes after the main mast in size
  • Mizzen mast – the next largest after the fore mast
  • Jiggermast – if present will be smaller again than the mizzen mast

Importance of Mast Condition

A complex system of welds and rivets is used to establish constructional integrity of the mast. Aluminum welds are rather common in today's boats but they too can corrode. This is why the boom and mast need regular inspection. Signs of damage might appear along the points of extreme stress. End sections of welds are more likely to show signs of wear and tear. Rivets too need regular examination to ensure that none are missing or loose. Timely replacements can save costs incurred due to extensive mast repairs or overhauls. Did you know welded surfaces around crevices and sharp edges are more vulnerable to corrosion? The first signs of cracked or rusted welding in or around the mast need your immediate attention. Galvanic corrosion is a common problem in bronze when in contact with stainless steel fittings. Winches, tangs and cleats use a metal-on-metal installation in most aluminum masts and can become vulnerable to galvanic corrosion.

Rigging Products for Sailing Craft

Rigging refers to the mechanical sailing apparatus that with the sails forms a ship's propulsion system. Sailing ships are often rated on the type of rigging they employ. Square rigging is rather common. A full-rigged ship usually has at least three masts. Cordage, sails and spars are the main components of rigging. Rigging components should work in unison to ensure that the boat and its hull move as a single, comprehensive unit.

Different rigging products :

  • Chainplates – eyed plate attached to deck to secure rigging
  • Turnbuckles – link allowing rigging to be tightened after it is secured
  • Thumb Cleat – small cleat on mast to prevent lines slipping out
  • Shackles – connector in U shape with a securing pin
  • Hoists
  • Blocks – pulley consisting of sheaves or wheels on axels
  • Wire ropes and fittings
  • Crutch – support for unused spar
  • Jackline – plastic coated steel safety lines the crew can clip safety harness to

Rigging wear and damage from use

Rusting, corrosion, stress-induced distortion and cracking are the most commonly seen signs of damage. Chainplates are known to fail when corrosion becomes deep-seated. Smart, regular detailed checking and detection is often time consuming but worth the effort. For instance, you might need to remove the toggles to understand the extent of corrosion, which may seem a pain but is the only way to inspect them thoroughly. The smallest leakages involving salt water can induce creation of concealed, corroded crevices that compromise the rig's overall strength. It is advisable to proof-test your rigging equipment to ensure safety. Our rigging suppliers stock all the items you will need to keep your craft in excellent sailing condition.